Last October, Jon started a new job with an air cargo trade publication. His first day there, he was told to book a ticket to Amsterdam for a week-long conference at the end of the month. Whaa? Hello, business travel! On such short notice I wasn’t able to tag along, but Jon and I started to discuss how I might take advantage of his conference schedule in the future with some advance planning.
Then, earlier this year, Jon learned that his company would be helping put on a conference in Berlin this October. Berlin! As soon as Jon mentioned that I started planning our trip in my head: three days in Berlin for the conference, where we’d visit with my Berliner family friends, then we’d hop the high-speed train down to Freiburg, where I studied, and finish out the week there. It would be perfect! Until I started looking at airfares and realized that I couldn’t afford it. Not only could I not afford the plane ticket, everything we ate, drank, purchased or did over there would be in euros and thus way pricier. (FYI, 1 euro = 1.43 USD as of this posting. Can we turn that around sometime?) I realized quickly that this would not be happening. Fortunately I had been talking about Germany in hypothetical terms all along, knowing the cost, so I wasn’t terribly surprised when I determined it wasn’t feasible. Sigh.
Far worse than this missed opportunity for partially-subsidized European travel, though, is the fact that Jon is planning some vacation fun this summer and I can’t go. His step-dad returns from a yearlong sabbatical in August, so Jon and his younger brother are going home to Idaho for a welcome-home visit. Even his brother’s best buddy is going! Which sort of makes me even saltier that I can’t.
I can’t afford the flight — at least not if I want to be able to afford it at Christmastime, which is not optional — and even if I could, I’m not supposed to take any time off until I’ve been in my new job for six months. Meanwhile, Jon’s been racking up frequent flyer miles on various and sundry work trips, so this one is basically a freebie for him. I’ve never visited Idaho in a non-snowy time of year, but it seems that I’ll have to wait at least another year to make that happen.
Jon’s had a few work trips this spring, and I have to say, I’m getting a little weary of him hitting the road and leaving me home to tend the critters — not that he or I can do much about it. Otto is way less of a pain in the ass than he used to be, but I definitely prefer to share puppy duty. (Which is to say, I don’t like getting up in the morning to take out the dog. Not so bad now that it’s warm and light out in the morning, but still.)
There are upsides to having the house to myself, of course, but I can’t help but be a little bummed that I won’t experience my first Idaho summer this year or see some of Jon’s family until Christmas. OK, I’m a lot bummed. I think part of this stems from adjusting to a new pay schedule at work and a new bank account strategy at home (we just got a joint one, finally), both of which have me fretting unnecessarily that I’ll never be able to travel anywhere ever again. Perhaps a more optimistic — and, hopefully, realistic — take is that saving my money and my vacation days now will lead to a more awesome trip for me next year: I’ve got a wedding in Vancouver next fall and am already brainstorming how we can make the most out of that plane ticket…